Shawty Lo revealed that he’s been struggling with diabetes for 11 years. “I’m diabetic. I’ve been diabetic for 11 years now, and first I was in denial when I first became a diabetic because I wanted to stay the same. But when you learn how to cope with it, you deal with it. I’m trying to teach people who have the disease that you can live with it.” Shawty Lo has participated in the American Diabetes step out and Walk for past two years.
Diabetes is a lifelong (chronic) disease in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control blood sugar. Diabetes can be caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin, or both.
To understand diabetes, it is important to first understand the normal process by which food is broken down and used by the body for energy. Several things happen when food is digested:
- A sugar called glucose enters the bloodstream. Glucose is a source of fuel for the body.
- An organ called the pancreas makes insulin. The role of insulin is to move glucose from the bloodstream into muscle, fat, and liver cells, where it can be used as fuel.
People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their body cannot move sugar into fat, liver, and muscle cells to be stored for energy. This is because either:
- Their pancreas does not make enough insulin
- Their cells do not respond to insulin normally
- Both of the above
There are three major types of diabetes. The causes and risk factors are different for each type:
- Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but it is most often diagnosed in children, teens, or young adults. In this disease, the body makes little or no insulin. Daily injections of insulin are needed. The exact cause is unknown.
- Type 2 diabetes makes up most of diabetes cases. It most often occurs in adulthood, but teens and young adults are now being diagnosed with it because of high obesity rates. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have it.
- Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes.
Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans. Over 40 million Americans have pre-diabetes (early type 2 diabetes).
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